Recently, many large grocery retailers have started offering delivery services to compete against each other and with Amazon Fresh / Whole Foods. Customers are now able to grocery shop online and then select a pickup time window. This service is so helpful for the modern family and offers a level of convenience to a necessary but dull task. There has been such an increase in demand for the online shopping service that retailers have been rapidly expanding in the Pierce County area.
Bonney Lake's Costco just opened a month ago and already they offer grocery delivery service through Instacart. Other stores that are participating in the Pierce County launch of Instacart are PCC, Fred Meyer, Safeway, and even Petco! To use the service, you can visit instacart.com or access through the mobile app. There, you can search for you zip code to verify that you are within delivery range. Instacart allows you to choose a delivery of one hour, two hours or up to 7 days in advance. First time Instacart shoppers are eligible to waive the delivery fee for orders over $35!
The latest grocery giant to join the trend is Walmart. On June 6th, they launched their online grocery delivery service to the South Sound for a small fee of $10/delivery. They are first targeting Auburn, Lakewood and Puyallup in the initial rollout, but additional zip codes are within delivery range. If you aren't within the delivery area now, Walmart is adding an additional 100 metros by the end of the year. To get your first order delivered for free, use promo code FRESHCAR with minimum $50 order.
Target customers can get same-day deliveries to some Pierce County cities through the delivery service Shipt. Cities included in the service are Tacoma, Lakewood, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, Kent, Bonny Lake & Federal Way. Customers can not only have their groceries delivered but will also have access to electronics, toys, home goods and more!
A home inspection should catch most of the glaring issues in a home, but there are some deal breakers that are hard to pinpoint. In fact, some major headaches don't reveal themselves during the inspection because they are outside of the standard inspection scope. To get the most out of your inspection, it's important to note a few things that may be overlooked.
1. Damaged or blocked sewer lines
Some issues don't show up immediately and a partially blocked or damaged sewer line is one of those things. Inspectors will run water through the fixtures and try to determine the age & type of drain pipes used but won't always catch damaged pipes. In fact, sewer-pipe scoping may be the only way to identify issues and that service isn't included with a standard inspection.
2. Failing HVAC & cracked heat exchanger
These two issues are less common in the PNW, but still good to note in case the house you are purchasing has the equipment. HVAC equipment can be fine one day and stop working the next day. Especially under stress, equipment can fail without warning. A similar issue would be a cracked heat exchanger. Again, it's not part of the standard inspection to examine it, but some can develop cracks. You can always hire an HVAC contractor to inspect these elements, but that is a hefty cost and takes a few days to complete.
3. Electrical issues
When it comes to electrical issues, an inspector can identify a receptacle that is faulty, but can't always determine the problem's source. It will require a professional electrician to find the disconnect in the system.
4. Structural problems
An inspector will be able to determine what is normal or not normal when it comes to a sagging roof or slanted floors, but they won't know how much it would cost to repair or the extent of the damage. Also, depending on the time of year, the roof or foundation may be covered in snow and a standard inspection would not be able to see all the potential problems.
Again, depending on the time of year, leaks may not be there one day and surprise you the next. Also, in the case of a vacant home, if the plumbing systems isn't being used on a daily basis, any leaks may have dried up and not show themselves for a few days after the water is on. The best thing you can do is check drains in cabinets before and during your move. Sometimes, drains will get bumped by belonging during a move and this could cause them to start leaking.
To spare yourself some of these common headaches, take the time to find a certified inspector who is very familiar with the area you are purchasing in. They are the experts and will be able to know where failures are likely to occur.
We are officially two days into summer and couldn't be happier about it! Summer fun is something special, but the heat can bring some unforeseen dangers. When preparing for your favorite summer activities, don't forget to follow these safety tips to ensure that you and the whole family has a great time.
1. Understand and Use Sun Protection
Sunscreen and UPF clothing are a necessity when heading outdoors. Educate yourself on the meaning of the SPF numbers and what kinds of sun protection to use for your family. Extremely high SPF numbers aren't necessarily as important as careful coverage on all exposed skin. Also, different activities warrant more sun protection - such as hiking, playing in the water or vacationing near the equator. Make sure you have everything you need to protect against UV rays!
2. Protection against Bugs
Mosquitos are carriers of some of the summer's nastiest diseases such as Lyme & Zika and can be difficult to avoid. Arm yourself with repellents that use deet to keep the mosquitos away. Keep away from wasp & hornet nests and treat any stings immediately.
3. Helmets & Kneepads
When skating, biking or doing all kinds of summer sports, equip your kids and yourselves with bodily protection against falls. Helmets are a non-negotiable for head protection and kneepads are also important to protect from scrapes and burns on hot metal surfaces.
4. Practice Proper Water Safety
A vast number of preventable deaths in the summer are caused by drowning. If you or your kids are enjoying pool activities or water sports, always go in pairs and make sure kids constantly have adult supervision from a good swimmer. Be well equipped with proper flotation devices whenever you are at the pool, lake, ocean or other body of water. In many adult water-related deaths, alcohol is a factor. Avoid drinking before swimming or driving a watercraft. Sun & heat exponentially increase the effects that alcohol has on the body.
As it heats up, plan hydration carefully. Dehydration is no fun and could be deadly if ignored. Bring your own water storage and make sure you have enough for everyone in your party. If you are out on an especially hot day, make some stops in the shade to keep from sweating out too much.
6. Be Extra Careful in the Car
Summer can be a dangerous time on the road due to a number of factors: more road-trippers who are unfamiliar with the area, careless behavior behind the wheel and a heightened amount of bicyclists all sharing the road. So, be extra vigilant when driving. It is also important to practice good maintenance on your car during the summer to reduce any potential issues. Additionally, don't leave children or pets unattended in a vehicle for any length of time. Children are at risk of heat stroke when left in hot cars and this can lead to death.
7. Protect Your Food
Practice good food safety handling techniques during the summer months. Keep foods sealed and covered until they are ready to eat and keep them out of the sun if possible. When cooking outside, make sure meats are properly refrigerated before cooking and heated to the proper temperature before service. Finally, wash your hands often to prevent contamination!
For more summer safety tips, check out Seattle Children's Hospital's exhaustive guide!
Real estate inventory in the Northwest is on the rise again! According to the MLS report, 14,524 new listings were added during May, which is the first time volume was over 14,000 in more than a decade!
Brokers and home buyers alike are encouraged by the figures showing gains in inventory. But, we are still keeping an eye on prices and interest rates steadily increasing, as well. In fact, compared to a year ago, the median sale price for a single family home and condo in May was $420,000, which is 11% higher from the year ago price of $378,475. But with inventory on the rise, it is the best time of year for potential buyers. More listings create more opportunities for buyers. With a broader selection, more buyers can purchase homes regardless of increased prices, slightly higher interest rates, and a higher down payment. Hopefully this is a beginning of a trend!
It appears that continuing bidding wars are contributing to rising prices. Fifteen counties had double-digit price hikes for single family homes and condos combined compared to year ago. For instance, King County median sales price on all homes rose over 16%, from $560,000 to $650,000.
It will be interesting to see how the head tax on businesses in Seattle and retiring boomers will effect the real estate market in the coming year. If companies elect to relocate from Seattle to the Eastside, it is likely that their employees will also make the move. Additionally, Seattle may be too expensive of a city to retire in right now. We may see boomers move away from the city as they retire.
Local Farmers Markets are a beautiful ode to the very best of the Pacific Northwest. From makers to growers, they feature a wide variety of high-quality goods that talented WA folks curate. Check out each market's website for various special events offerings and a list of their specific vendors.
If you live in Seattle, chances are your neighborhood hosts a market on a weekly basis! Check out the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Market website for more information.
Thursdays from 3-7pm, the city of Bellevue hosts their Farmer's Market from May to October 11th, 2018. They are open weekly, rain or shine in the parking lot of Bellevue Presbyterian Church! This farmers market only sells products that were grown or made in Washington state.
Marina Park in Kirkland hosts a weekly market on Wednesdays from 2-7pm, between June & Sept. They have over 60 vendors every week!
Tacoma has three weekly markets to enjoy! Their vision is to preserve farmland in Pierce County and provide access to fresh food for all residents.
Tuesdays on the Eastside: 35th & McKinley, 3-7pm
Thursdays on Broadway: 9th & Broadway, 10-3pm
Sundays at Point Ruston: 5005 Ruston Way, 10-3pm
This market is set on the Des Moines Marina waterfront with the spectacular backdrop of the Olympic Mountains. They host the occasional special event including Food Truck-Ins, Kids Day, Safety Day and various live musical performances. Open on Saturdays from 10-2pm!
If you didn't find your city on this list, here is an exhaustive list of PNW Markets!
Is there anything more fun than a summer outdoor movie night? What better way to enjoy the long days of summer than a party with your best friends and your favorite movie! The way we see it, there are 5 ingredients to a fantastic outdoor movie night.
Read on to find out our recipe for successful hosting!
1. The Set Up
First of all, you need a great set up. Find a darker corner of your yard to put the screen & projector. There are lots of great projectors on the market ranging anywhere from $200 - $2000. Regardless of your budget, you're sure to find something to fit your needs!
2. The Seating
Seating can be tricky because everyone has their own preferences on how they like to enjoy movies. It's best to just hit every base! Put out picnic blankets and oversized pillows in front of the screen. This is ideal for kids and teens who want to lay down and totally lounge during the flick. Then, have a variety of seats available for the adults - think camping chairs, rockers, some Adirondacks with excellent padding. And don't forget the ottomans for putting up your feet! Finally, make sure to save room in the back for the "pacers" and those who like to hang out near the snack bar.
3. The Snacks
I don't know about you, but I find that great snacks and beverages are key to a great party. Popcorn is the quintessential movie snack, but let's take it up a notch with a Popcorn Bar. Here is a link to a great site that will walk you through the set up for an amazing popcorn bar. Don't forget the beverages! Take inspiration from the movie you are presenting to create a themed cocktail. And for the under 21 movie-goers, how about a make-your-own lemonade? Start with a basic store bought lemonade drink and let your guests add their favorite flavored syrups!
4. The Ambiance
Ambiance means different things to different people. We suggest putting out blankets and extra pairs of (clean) fuzzy socks for when the temp starts to drop. Hang some twinkle lights around the yard to light the way to the snack and drink table. And keep away unwanted visitors with a few citronella candles!
5. The Games
While you are waiting for it to get dark enough to start the movie (sunset is after 9pm these days) why not break out a few lawn games! Bocce ball, oversized Jenga and badminton are always a hit!
What would you add to this list? Do you have any favorite movies that are best viewed out-of-doors?
Bed sheets are a very personal decision and we all have our own preferences when it comes to their look and feel. However, there are some important things to know when it comes to finding the right set and keeping them looking great for years to come. After all, we spend more than a quarter of our lives sleeping! So, let's invest in good quality linens to get the best night's sleep possible.
Some things to consider when buying new sheets are the climate you live in, what feeling you prefer and how you like your bed styled. These preferences will help lead you to the ideal sheets for your bed!
The three main types of sheet materials are cotton, linen and tencel. All three types can be machine washed and dried without concern. Cotton is naturally breathable and relatively maintenance. Linen is softer than cotton and is light & breathable in the summer. Tencel is a soft material that is made from the eucalyptus plant and regulates body temperature.
The differences in the sheet finish determine a lot about the way they feel. Sateen or satin finish is considered very luxurious. It is a dense weave that has a higher thread count which adds weight and an elegant luster. Plain-weave is a tight weave but with a more matte appearance and a "crisper" feeling than sateen. Plain-weave or percale is very durable and doesn't pill. Finally, a washed finish is currently on-trend! It is soft, light and has a more casual look.
One surprising fact we learned is that a higher thread count does not necessarily indicate quality - it is merely a measure of weight. The more important factors are thread quality, size of yarn fibers and the finish on the sheet.
To reduce wear and tear, have a couple of bedding sets on hand that you can rotate weekly. It is recommended to wash sheets using a mild detergent, once per week, to remove body oils. Also, using a pillow protector prolongs the life of your pillow & pillowcases!